As stylish as a yellow turtleneck can be


I am not, in any sense of the concept—and I do mean ANY sense of the concept—fashionable.

I am most comfortable in comfortable clothes. Yes, I know how that double-comfortable sounds. But honestly, there’s no other description that works as well, and you know it. Sneakers, jeans and sweatshirts. Comfortable in comfortable clothes.

I also prefer dull colors, such as blues and blacks and grays. And, if you try stretching my wardrobe off into reds or whatever, I want to stay with darker shades of those colors.

Ultimately, the trick is… if a summary was even needed… stylish will never be found around me. I’ll be dressed accordingly. I have jackets and ties. I clean up ok. But very, very rarely, does anything I put together qualify as an impressive ensemble.

Every so often though, I make a stylish decision. Usually it’s an accident. Or, more of an unintended consequence, coincidence, or, some type of completely unassociated events that just so happened to meander into my actions. Just such an unassociated event took place more than three decades ago.

I was attending a northeast college. Snow and cold and two seasons every year… winter and July 4th. My choices in clothing moved right along with that concept… featuring heavy boots and turtlenecks.

At the time, I enjoyed watching the Los Angeles Lakers when it came to basketball. And, from who I cannot remember, someone at one point gave me a gift… a Lakers’ sweatshirt. For reasons that make no sense at all today, I do remember thinking something close to this: “Wow. Cool sweatshirt. Which I had a yellow turtleneck to wear under it.”

(I heard that. I heard what you’re thinking. And you’re right. I’d blame it on the stupidity of youth, but honestly, it’s even worse than that. All I can offer in my defense is that I began this essay by telling you, right out of the gate, that no one would ever mistake any decision or choice or effort I make as fashionable. Had a sweatshirt. It was usually cold. Liked to be warm. Wanted a turtleneck. Not a massive research project going on here. Oh… and, yeah… I found one…)

In the days before the internet… in a time where I would barely have a clue where to go to get a new pair of sneakers… I ended up finding a yellow turtleneck.

I’m going to pause for a moment to see if you can figure out what happened next.

Just a few seconds. Give you a chance to really consider it.

Ready? Ok.

A girlfriend took it.

I don’t know if I ever wore the darn thing. I really don’t recall a single time that I had it on. But, one day I was in my house, packing to head back to school or something. Girlfriend at the time was over while I packed and she spotted the turtleneck.

Conversation… well, not conversation, but her talking… slid right into where the heck had I found a yellow turtleneck and she needed a yellow turtleneck and I absolutely did not need a yellow turtleneck and it was hers now. She took it. So ended one moment of fashion-based clothing decisions. (So ended what might have been my only moment of fashion-based clothing decisions.)

Terry and I have debates about my clothes. I have sweatshirts that I still take out to wear around the house that she has informed me are to never be mended again… they have enough holes and tears sown and repaired already. In short, I’ve been told to get rid of them and buy something new if I need something to wear. My response is generally a shoulder shrug, since I’m not the person qualified to respond with a counterargument.

(Full disclaimer, another part of my response is to hide those sweatshirts. I like them. Comfortable. She has been known to swoop in without warning. Enough said.)

But there once was a day… more than thirty years ago… where for a moment I was close. This close to a fashion decision. I had a yellow turtleneck. Wasn’t going to be stylish on me. But someone was excited about it.


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